On the 1st March 2015, we waved goodbye to our family, friends and jobs and boarded a flight with a one way ticket to Australia.
We had no plans, no commitments and basically no money. But there was plenty of time to worry about that later…
Here’s a brief round-up of the year that followed.
Places Visited: The Philippines, Melbourne, Australia
We split up our flight to Australia with a 3 week sojourn in the Philippines. The country quickly became one of our favourites and we split our time between lazing on the beach and exploring the beautiful islands of Palawan and Boracay.
When we finally touched down in Melbourne we started the practicalities of moving abroad, opening bank accounts and setting up phones etc. We were here for the long haul.
Places Visited: Melbourne
Our first month in Melbourne saw us fall head over heels for the city. We spent our weekends exploring quirky neighbourhoods, rummaging through markets and attempting to find our favourite Flat White (a never-ending quest).
We both found jobs, Lauren at a temping agency and Ryan at a city café and settled into our new home at the heart of the action in Fitzroy. The jobs were welcomed with open arms as our travel fund had dwindled quicker than expected!
Places Visited: Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Yarra Ranges, Dangdenong Ranges
May was a month packed with weekend excursions to the beautiful Victorian countryside. With some friends from the UK in tow, we spent some amazing days soaking up the Aussie scenery and calming our itchy feet.
It was the month which brought us our first kangaroo sighting, reminding us that we were living in Australia and not just some cosmopolitan European city- Melbourne makes it hard to distinguish between the two!
Places Visited: Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, Sydney to Melbourne roadtrip
June was when the winter blues snuck in. Melbourne gets unbelievably miserable and cold in winter, a factor we didn’t consider. We remedied our SAD with visits to Melbourne’s coast and the stunning Mornington Peninsula.
We also welcomed our trusty car Martin into our lives. We picked him up in Sydney and drove the 9 hours back to Melbourne. Our first taste of Australian camping included temperatures in the minuses and our inability to put up the tent.
One of our favourite Melbourne experiences also fell in June, The Good Food and Wine Festival. Lauren received tickets through her blog, and we spent the day getting drunk on free wine and eating our bodyweight in cheese- perfect!
Places Visited: Melbourne, Wilsons Promotory, Great Ocean Road, Sydney, Yarra Valley, Ballarat, Melbourne to Margaret River roadtrip
Things really got moving in July. We spent an incredible weekend patting wombats and taking blustery walks at Wilsons Promotory, Lauren’s friend Leah visited and a jam packed fortnight of activity took place.
We roadtripped the Great Ocean Road, spent a fantastic weekend in Sydney, wine-tasted in the Yarra Valley and soaked up the gold-rush history in Ballarat.
After waving goodbye to Leah, it was time to leave Melbourne. We had fallen in love with the city and knew we would be back. We packed up Martin and began the long drive across the country to Margaret River in Western Australia.
Places Visited: Margaret River Region, Scott River
August was split between two very different farms. We had decided to squeeze our farm work early and travelled the length of the country after responding to a WOOFFing position in Margaret River.
In return for food, accommodation and petrol we would work 4 days at an organic chicken egg farm. We spent 3 weeks doing the monotonous work of cleaning shit from chicken eggs before packing it in and taking up work at a dairy farm.
This work was incredibly tough and draining but necessary for our visa. It was a culture shock for sure!
Places Visited: Margaret River Region, Perth
Work on the farm continued as Lauren worked the calving season and Ryan worked in the dairy. On average the days were 14 hours long and every day was physically exhausting.
On our weekends we explored the incredible Margaret River region, sampling the world-class wines, learning to surf or eating in one of the great cafes and restaurants in the area.
We also spent a weekend in Perth, a town which we quickly warmed to. We explored the trendy neighbourhood of Fremantle, stayed in a vintage caravan in beautiful beachside Cottesloe and saw Tame Impala, one of Australia’s famed exports, at an outdoor amphitheatre.
Places Visited: Margaret River Region
Another month passed on the farm. The weather warmed up and we started plotting our escape with our German colleagues.
Places Visited: Margaret River Region
Our last month on the farm! After exceeding the days needed for our second year visa extension, it was finally time to leave.
We celebrated with a slap-up meal and plenty of cheap beer. Now we could finally start exploring Australia!
Places Visited: South-West Australia, Bali, Indonesia
We kicked off December road-tripping around the south-west corner of the country with our German colleagues. It was an amazing trip, despite some questionable weather. We saw kangaroos on the beach in Esperance, climbed trees in Walpole and took in a basketball game in Perth. The best thing about doing the farm work for so long was definitely finding these friends for life.
In the middle of December we jetted off to Australian holiday favourite- Bali. We spent just over two weeks exploring the island. We fell in love with spiritual hub, Ubud, were disappointed with the beaches at Canggu (but adored the food and laidback atmosphere), took the moped for a spin along the East Coast and spent Christmas in a luxury villa in Seminyak. We had definitely deserved the break and loved every single relaxing minute.
Places Visted: Perth, South Australia, Eyre Peninsula, McLaren Vale, Renmark, Melbourne
We landed back in Perth with no plans and limited funds. We enjoyed the summer weather in Perth, camping out beside the beach and swimming everyday. We eventually decided to slowly make our way back to Melbourne.
Instead of rushing across country like we had before, we took our time. We sunk down into the Eyre Peninsula, a massively underrated region with crystal clear ocean and rolling farmland. We tried to find work in McLaren Vale, one of Adelaide’s premier wine regions, but found nothing except an excuse to laze on the beach everyday. We finally found work orange picking in the rural town of Renmark but quickly discovered it wasn’t for us, especially in 46 degree heat. We gave up after 2 days and headed for Melbourne.
Our Melbourne reunion was perfect. We slept on our friend’s floor, went to the Australian Open and spent Australia day sinking slaps of VB (the cheapest and most Australian of beer). We even sneaked in a wet weekend roadtrip along the Great Ocean Road with old friends.
Places Visited: Tasmania
We fell in love with Tasmania the second we landed after 9 hours on the ferry from Melbourne. It was unlike anything we had seen in Australia so far and the scenery improved around every corner.
We spent the first half of the month exploring and publishing our stories on our newly released website (welcome Flat Earth!). We based ourselves in Hobart and looked for work but it was scarce but when we were about to pack it in and leave a job in the Tasmanian wilderness popped up!
The rest of the month was spent looking after firefighters, who had come from all over Australia and New Zealand to battle the raging wildfires in the area.
Places Visited: Let’s see!
Which brings us up to now! We are very happy with our new jobs and are continually amazed at our surroundings. We have both never seen scenery like it and are sure to remind ourselves how lucky we are to work in such a special place.
We will be working in Tasmania until the fires die down and then, who knows?!
The East Coast is calling and we are desperate to avoid winter for as long as possible. So, keep your eyes peeled, the adventures aren’t going to stop anytime soon!